We often go on trips to get away from everyday stress, but sometimes travel is pretty stressful itself. Here are six habits of happy travelers that you can adopt to get more joy out of your own vacations.
They pack smartly
- Over-packing can seriously slow you down, but you don’t have to be an uber-minimalist who rolls everything and fits two weeks of clothes into a toiletry case. Just plan ahead and think about what you’ll really need. Skip the dressy shoes if you’ll be spending most of your time hiking over tors in Cornwall.
- Consider multi-use items too. A good scarf can be a blanket, a head-covering, a make-shift tote, a swimsuit cover-up, or even an actual scarf.
- And, of course, do consider things like rolling your clothes (it can reduce wrinkles) and tetris-ing everything (belts can go around the inside of a suitcase, socks & undies inside shoes, etc…)
They’re open-minded & respectful
- It shouldn’t have to be said, but you’ll come across lots of people on your travels and many of them will be very different than you and me. Be it their religion, their culture, their style of dress, or their choice of food, stay open-minded. Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but it works for them. Try not to judge their culture against yours, but see it as a different way of doing things that came from a different way of living.
- Likewise, be respectful of local etiquette and customs. In Thailand, it’s not proper to enter a temple if your shoulders or knees are showing. Sure, it’s hot and muggy, but wear some lightweight long pants and throw that scarf you brought along over your tanktop wearing shoulders.
- Personally, I think curiosity is a trait of any happy person. When traveling it’s so easy to be curious and to learn because there are so many new sights, sounds, and flavors. Some things may take you out of your comfort zone, but rarely will you regret them afterward. It’s only when we leave that comfort zone that we grow.
- Try the street food, let yourself be pulled in on stage with a flamenco dancer, and dive off that cliff! (Ok, cliff diving it just too far out of my comfort zone. I’ll eat an extra grasshopper kabob while you check out the cliff diving.)
They roll with the punches
- Sometimes, for whatever reason, things just don’t go as planned. It could be a missed connection, a surprise rainstorm, or a broken air conditioner. The more flexible and adaptable you are, the less likely those setbacks are to get you down. It’s ok to be disappointed, but recover and make the best of your new situation.
- For example, don’t let rain ruin your visit to Pompeii! Throw on a raincoat and watch the Roman engineering at work. Water is channeled into the street where nice, raised stepping stones keep your feet dry.
They buy travel insurance
- Things happen (as I pointed out above). Some things you can work around (rain), other things you can’t (hurricanes). Smart travelers buy trip insurance because they know things happen beyond their control. Airlines lose luggage, people get sick, nature throws punches. Insurance can protect you in many of these cases.
- I know, you’re young and healthy, you aren’t worried about getting sick or injured before your trip. You are DEFINITELY going on this trip come hell or high water. What happens if your mom takes a nasty fall and you need to come back home early to help out? Travel insurance may have you covered…
- What happens if the train workers are on strike in France and you can’t make it from Paris to Barcelona to get on your Mediterranean cruise before it leaves port? Travel insurance may have you covered… (This ALMOST happened to my parents, they made it, but they sat in the terminal for quite a while and had to switch trains a couple times.)
- Happy travelers are focusing on the fun they’re having because they know if something unfortunate happens, they’re covered.
They use a travel expert
- With all the information that’s out there on the internet, you’d hardly think you need a travel agent anymore. I mean, technically you don’t need a travel agent anymore, you can buy your own travel directly or through the many online agencies. Of course, with ALL THE INFORMATION out there on the internet, how do you narrow it down? How can you tell which hotel best fits your style? Is that tour company reputable or are you going to be sitting at the airport waiting for a non-existent bus to pick you up?
- Travel agents may not be necessary anymore, but travel experts are more helpful than ever. We have connections all over the globe and we know if that tour company is legit. We also know who to call if the bus doesn’t show up. We know what hotels fit different travel personalities. We know about a special inn where you can learn to make pasta with the owner and have a big Italian meal with your new family (and they probably don’t sell their rooms on the online travel agencies, because they live on personal connection).
- Best of all, we WANT to help you have the best trip ever! That’s what we live for!
There are many things that make a happy traveler, these are just a few. If you have any suggestions for things to improve vacation, be sure to leave a comment!